MANILA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Growth of Pacific economies slowed to 7.3 percent in 2012, down from a post global financial crisis high of 8.3 percent in 2011, pulled by the easing growth in the resource exporting economies of Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday.
The Manila-based lender reported in its latest Pacific Economic Monitor said that despite the slower growth, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste continues to lead growth in the region.
Papua New Guinea was in fact one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia and the Pacific, registering a 9.2 percent growth in 2012, thanks to its expanding construction, transport, finance, and retail trade sectors, the recovery in the mining sector, the building of a liquefied natural gas project that boosted consumption and increased government spending. But falling oil output and lower farm production curbed growth.
Timor-Leste's GDP rose 10.6 percent in 2012 mostly driven by higher government spending. Favorable coffee harvest boosted non- petroleum exports by 10.9 percent, but petroleum revenues declined.
Other economies in the region, however, posted slower growth in 2012. The ADB said lower log export revenues drag down growth in Solomon Islands. Reduced gains from public construction projects weighed down growth in Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, and Tonga.
The tourism sector, however, continues to propel several Pacific economies including Cook Islands, Vanuatu, and Palau. This was supported by the higher number of tourists from Australia, New Zealand and East Asia.
Nauru grew due to high phosphate production, while infrastructure spending and fishing revenues prompted growth in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
The ADB sees growth in the region easing further to 5.2 percent in 2013. The completion of large infrastructure projects, particularly LNG pipeline project in Papua New Guinea, will reduce construction and transport activity and weakened domestic demand. Damages from Cyclone Evan are projected to weigh down 2013 growth in Fiji and Samoa.